Florida definitely stands apart from other states in the South. It actually sends Conservatives to DC, to the House that is. The Republican Party is gaining a lot of strength in Florida, similar to Wisconsin. The GOP knows how to win elections in this traditional swing state. Now the predicament becomes: who will win the battle for the GOP’s soul? Conservatives are poised to make gains this primary season. Leftists are poised for setbacks to their blue wave. A successful campaign in 2018 could empower Florida to be a red state in presidential elections to come. For this reason, some tradeoffs were allowed for Conservative Picks. Rick Scott betrayed the party, but in 2016, the Floridians forgave Marco Rubio for his professional shortcomings. Perhaps, in order to remove Nelson, the Florida Conservatives need to forgive Rick Scott. There is a larger battle that Conservatives can win, among the House races that can change the state’s politics for the next decade. Florida is poised to gain at least one or two Congressional seats in the next Census. It would be beneficial, if Conservatives are accustomed to winning by this time.
Best Picks: Greg Steube, Matt Gaetz, Ross Spano
Worst Picks: Greg Buck, Brian Mast, Carlos Curbelo
Best Races: District 7, District 15, District 17
Worst Races: District 18
A likable candidate can end Bill Nelson’s long tenure in the DC swamp. It sucks to admit it but that candidate is Governor Rick Scott. In 2016, the Republicans rationalized that Marco Rubio was the best chance to maintain the Florida Senate seat, particularly in an election they did not think they would fare as well. Nevertheless, the GOP won this race in Florida, by over 700000 votes, in a higher turnout election than Nelson’s last win in 2012. 2012 was a bad election for Republicans, losing this race by double digits. 10 points is a hefty task. Rick Scott has viability, in that he outperformed the polls in his narrow victory in 2014. This was a lower turnout election, which is worrisome, but he is an organized candidate. The biggest downside to Rick Scott is that he is not a strong Conservative. On guns, he flopped. Still, ousting a three term Senator with a Liberty Score of 0 needs to be done. If Rick Scott can do that, the Senate will be better off.
Conservative Pick: Rick Scott
Matt Gaetz is in his first term and he seems like a new addition to the Conservative movement. He has opponents, but Gaetz deserves a second term.
Conservative Pick: Matt Gaetz
Neal Dunn is a first term RINO. He is unopposed.
Ted Yoho is a somewhat decent Congressman. He has blemishes on his record but is not a RINO. He has no serious opponent.
Conservative Pick: Ted Yoho
After 1 term, John Rutherford has shown to be a RINO. He has no opponent.
Virginia Fuller is the only Republican running in this race.
Now this is an interesting race. Three challengers vie for the nomination. Fred Costello is a former state rep with a lot of local endorsements. He also appears to be the weakest candidate. John Ward comes off strong as a Conservative with an emphasis on repealing Obamacare and balancing the budget. Michael Waltz is the other strong candidate in this race. His platform also self describes him as a Constitutional Conservative, but states replacing Obamacare as a priority and nothing about reducing debt. Ward is more Conservative, but doesn’t come off as strong or likable. Democrats already have a million dollar candidate, so this race can’t be screwed up. There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that Ward would blow this seat.
Conservative Pick: John Ward
State Rep. Mike Miller and businessman Scott Sturgill face off in this primary. Mike Miller has a decent record in the Florida House. He did not cave on his protection of the 2nd Amendment when Rick Scott did. Strugill is running on a seemingly hardline fiscal platform, but there appears to be no other signs of Conservatism than that. Miller has a track record of standing up in tough times, and that can’t be ignored.
Conservative Pick: Mike Miller
Bill Posey is a solid Conservative in the House. He is unopposed.
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Wayne Liebnitzki is the only Republican on the ballot.
There are no Republicans running
Daniel Webster is not quite a RINO. He is unopposed.
Gus Bilirakus is an unchallenged RINO.
Brad Sostack comes off as more of a Trump populist on his twitter. His opponent Greg Buck seemed fine until he embraced an endorsement from the Tamba Bay Times, the leftist propaganda arm repsonsible for Polifact‘s fake fact checking. Embracing Florida’s leftist rag’s approval makes Brad Sostack the pick. Their article endorsing Buck describes him as:
Brad Sostack, 36, of St. Petersburg is a first-time candidate who describes himself as a pro-Trump, fiscally conservative Republican. He is a military veteran who supports the Second Amendment, tax cuts and restrictions on abortion.
This came after they stated that Buck was soft on DACA.
Conservative Pick: Brad Sostack
There are no Republicans running in this race.
This race is wide, but the strongest candidates come down to Neil Combee and Ross Spano. Immediately Spano comes off as the more Conservative pick. Combee also has the endorsement of the Tampa Bay Times. They refer to him as a more practical and experienced candidate. This indicates that he will spend as he pleases. Spano on the other hand is a solid Conservative in the Florida House. In a desperate hour, he defended the 2nd Amendment when Republicans failed. He is embarrassed by the lack of Obamacare repeal and is strong on cutting spending.
Conservative Pick: Ross Spano
Vern Buchanan is an incumbent RINO. He is unchallenged.
Tim Rooney, thankfully isn’t running. This vacant red seat has attracted a field of candidates, but leading the pack are Julio Gonzales and Greg Steube. Both seem like decent Republican candidates. A huge separating factor, however, are the endorsements. The NRA, House Freedom Fund, and Republican Liberty Caucus have allgiven the thumbs up to Greg Steube. Meanwhile RINOs such as Marco Rubio and Conservatives such as Andy Harris, of the Freedom Caucus, have shown support for Julio Gonzales. Both would likely be above average, but Steube is less risky on policy than Gonzales.
Conservative Pick: Greg Steube
Brian Mast is already a RINO after one term. He has two opponents. Mark Freeman ran and lost in 2016. Dave Cummings comes off as the most Conservative candidate in this race. He’s compassionate about the environment without delving into regulations and strong on defending the 1st Amendment.
Conservative Pick: Dave Cummings
Francis Rooney is an unchallenged RINO.
There are no Republicans in this race.
There are no Republicans in this race.
The right candidate could flip this seat. Democrat Ted Deutch doesn’t have as large of a war chest as other incumbents, and the deficit to overcome for Republicans is only withing single digits. Three Republicans are running. The first one is Nicholas Kimaz. Kimaz comes off as a decent human being with a distaste for PC. But it seems doubtful he would reduce spending. The strongest candidate appears to be Javier Manjarres. He’s Rubio backed, along with many Floridian politicians. But his policies are basic, and his stance on illegal immigration is worrisome. Eddison Walters could also be a decent pick here. He seems like the most Conservative, but least serious. Javier is also most liekly of the three to flip the seat. This race should embrace the strongest, most serious candidate.
Conservative Pick: Javier Manjarres
This is Debbie Wassermann Schultz’s seat. Hoping that third time’s the charm is true is Joe Kaufman. Perhaps it might be if he can make Schultz seem as incompetent and corrupt as she is. Debbie’s corruption is a huge tenant of his campaign, and that is the only way a Republican can flip this seat. Kaufman would have 50,000 votes to gain and the plummeting reputation of his opponents, paired with his ballot recognition enables him to do that. Another challenger is Carlos Reyes. He has a rather populist style campaign. It doesn’t seem like he’s a super conservative guy. Lastly, there is Carla Spalding. She ran independent against Brian Mast. She employs populist language of an independent while touting support for Trump’s wall and a number of his policies. Her stances are common sense, but very vague. There is no indication she would reduce spending.
Conservative Pick: Joe Kaufman
There are no Republicans in this race.
Mario Diaz-Balart is a hardcore RINO. He is unopposed.
Conservative Pick: Souraya Faas
A lot of Republicans are running in the Miami-Dade district. This is a vacated red seat that offers a chance to upgrade. This seat is also possible for a blue flip considering Hillary won the District. However the right candidate can hold the seat. That candidate might be Maria Elvira Salazar. Her protect prosper and strengthen campaign themes feature a weak opposition to abortion as well as an emphasis on improving infrastructure. She may not be a serious conservative, but she is also seeking to replace a hardcore RINO of three decades with a Liberty Score of 29. If she does no worse and keeps the seat red, then perhaps it is worth it to mitigate and block a Blue Wave.